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Pluralism by Default: Community Power in a Paper Mill Town

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Forest-dependent communities are often isolated geographically and culturally but linked politically and economically to industrial core areas. Theories of underdevelopment and resource-dependence, and theories of community power are used to explain the implications of forest-dependence for the structure of local politics in one Maine paper mill town. Three models of power, as outlined by sociologists and political scientists, suggest three possible configurations of community power structures. Historical, documentary analysis and contemporary field research demonstrate the fluidity of the power structure for the community in question. As the needs and interests of the dominant local economic force have changed over time, the community has experienced elitist, hegemonic, and pluralist regimes of power. The contemporary power structure is a pluralism by default. The withdrawal from local politics of the major economic player has created a political vacuum and the historic dependency relationship between paper mill managers and the community has created an apathetic and nonparticipative citizenry. For. Sci. 42(1):35-45.
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Keywords: Forest-dependence; elites; hegemony; history; mill managers

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Canadian Forest Service, and Department of Rural Economy, University of Alberta, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320-122 St., Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6H 3S5

Publication date: 1996-02-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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